French supermajor TotalEnergies is planning in 2024 to eventually drill a high-impact potentially giant prospect offshore Papua New Guinea, the spudding of which has already been derailed for some four years — not least because of the Covid pandemic.

TotalEnergies will need a drillship to drill its deep-water frontier Mailu wildcat located on Petroleum Prospecting Licence (PPL) 576 within the offshore Eastern Papuan plateau, which the operator earlier said would be targeting a prospect with more than 500 million barrels of equivalent of risked potential resource.

If successful, the Mailu-1 wildcat — the first-ever probe on the block — that will target a giant Tertiary carbonate oil prospect, could open a new ultra-deepwater offshore play.

Addressing this week’s Seapex conference in Singapore, TotalEnergies’ geoscience and reservoir director Asia Pacific, Thierry Thomas, confirmed the 14,784 square kilometre block hosts giant carbonate prospects with liquids potential in a significantly de-risked basin.

Water depths at PPL 576, which has an effective date of 30 November 2016, range up to 2500 metres.

Mailu-1, located 60 kilometres from the PNG coast, will be drilled from a water depth of 2000 metres.

TotalEnergies also operates the contiguous PPL 589 that lies mostly offshore southern PNG and also has a small onshore part, which has an effective date of 31 October 2017.

Here the focus is on significant data acquisition and prospect maturation with a potential de-risking programme involving a 3D seismic survey. Water depths at the 15,650-square kilometre PPL 589 are up to 2500 metres.

Both licences have multi-play prospectivity with “a high potential” for fluid hydrocarbons and have ready-to-drill high-impact material resources, according to TotalEnergies.

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